Buried Alive

Over the next two days some areas of Colorado Rockies are expecting up to eight feet of snow. Avalanche danger is already high and expected to get much worse. Be careful out there folks.

Being caught in an avalanche is like being buried in cement. You can’t dig yourself out of an avalanche. When buried, you can’t even move. Even if you could move, which you can’t, you wouldn’t know which way is up. And although it may be cold being buried in the snow it is actually suffocation that kills you. Your only chance of survival is if your friends (you are with friends right?) dig you out.

The first person video below gives you an idea of what it might be like to be caught in an avalanche, and being rescued.

The scratching/ruffling back-and-forth sound you hear is his chest rising and falling and the noise that his jacket makes. You can actually hear his breathing become stressed and accelerate, even in the short amount of time he was buried. The intermittent whimpering noise you hear is him trying to swallow and get some air.

He was only buried for 4 and a half minutes which is incredibly short. I cannot stress these next sentences enough; that in and of itself to be unburied in ONLY 4:28 is miraculous if you have any understanding of being caught in an avalanche and what it takes to be found. It could literally be some kind of “world record” just on how good the guide and supporting cast of other skiers was in getting to him.

Have some fun out there but respect nature.

The Physics Of Moving Ski Moguls

As an avid skier I have always considered moguls to be large, immovable, obstacles. Solid piles of difficulty that haphazardly push my skis around with no regard for my intentions.

Three researchers in Colorado, David B. Bahr, W. Tad Pfeffer, and Raymond C. Browning, have discovered that moguls actually move! And not only that – they move up hill!

The math goes something like this:

A specific representation for the erosion–deposition wave W at position x created by a skier n may be given by the sinusoidal form Wn(x) = a sin(2πx/2rn + ϕn), with positive W corresponding to deposition.

The layman explanation goes something like this: as a skier turns on a mogul, snow is scraped from the bottom of one mogul to the top of the next one, having the overall effect of “moving” the moguls. And, although skiers invariably push snow down the mountain, the ski moguls move uphill.

Mogul Diagram

Below is a time-lapse photo of video showing the uphill migration of ski moguls on the Riflesight Notch ski run at Winter Park Ski Resort. The movie spans five months, starting in early December and ending in late April of the 2006/2007 ski season. Each frame of the movie represents one day.

Snow Dinosaur

October Blizzard '09

It snowed about fourteen inches at my house over the last two days. This is an exceptional amount of snow for this early in the season. Anyway, while shoveling the sidewalks I looked up at this snow covered tree in my yard. With a littlie imagination I think it kinda looks like a snow dinosaur.

Avoid Street Sweeping Tickets

It’s that time of year here in Denver. Those pesky street sweeping laws that have laid dormant all winter sneak up on you. If you’re not on the ball, you’re getting slapped with a $25 fine ($50 if your not quick). Below you’ll find a map for Denver’s street sweeping areas.

Denver Street Sweeping Map

Somebody is doing something about it. Finally.

Enter MyMotorMaid, a “small consortium of concerned citizens whom share an especially acute dislike of gratuitous and unnecessary vehicle parking regulation enforcement.” They will send you an email or text message the day before, and the morning of, your street’s particular days for street sweeping or snow removal. If last year was any indication, this service (which is FREE by the way) will save me about $100. Thank you MyMotorMaid! My suggestion to you, go sign up now.